Android P will offer navigation gestures reminiscent of those Apple implemented into the iPhone X as an alternative to traditional system keys, according to 9to5Google Managing Editor Stephen Hall. The first hint of the feature was provided by Google itself, with the company sharing the image seen below on Friday as part of a blog post explaining why Android P comes with native support for DNS over TLS. The on-screen system keys in the bottom nav bar look unlike anything seen on existing stock Android versions, being a combination of various button styles from different stages of the operating system's history. As first noted by Ars Technica Reviews Editor Ron Amadeo, the device from which the screenshot originates is running an Android P build but lacks a Recents key and has a hollow Back button similar to the one found on Nexus handsets.
The on-screen Home key also comes in pill-shaped form, with Hall stating both buttons disappear in certain situations, presumably when navigation gestures are supported. The claim is attributed to an anonymous source and indicates the previously unseen Home button in question may actually be a gesture marker like the one found on the iPhone X. Even if Google truly ends up implementing gesture support into Android P, such a functionality is likely to be entirely optional in nature. The company already confirmed the next major iteration of the world's most popular OS will ship with native support for display notches, another smartphone characteristic popularized by Apple in recent times.
With Android P already boasting a new sliding animation used during in-app navigation, Google appears to at least be considering gesture support as part of its upcoming mobile OS upgrade. Android P is still in its first developer preview but should receive the second one no later than early May when the annual Google I/O conference takes place. The OS is scheduled to hit the stable channel in the third quarter of the year, as per the official Android P roadmap.